I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday April 27

"Over 120,000 pounds of ground beef products are being recalled over possible E.Coli contamination… The affected products come from Lakeside Refrigerated Services, located in Swedesboro, New Jersey, and were produced between Feb. 1, 2022, through April 8, 2022, and distributed to locations nationwide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Wednesday."

"The pre-dawn hours are bringing a planet-spotting party for skywatchers this week. Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn will be visible in a diagonal line, joined by a waning crescent moon."

"Egyptian archaeologists unearthed the ruins of a temple for the ancient Greek god Zeus in the Sinai Peninsula, antiquities authorities said Monday… The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement the temple ruins were found in the Tell el-Farma archaeological site in northwestern Sinai."

"A farmer in the Gaza Strip has discovered a 4,500-year-old sculpture of an ancient goddess while working on his land… The sculpture represents the head of Anat, 'the goddess of love, beauty and war' in Canaanite mythology, according to Jamal Abu Rida, a spokesperson for the Hamas-run Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities."

"Philoponella prominens are social spiders, meaning they live in groups, but soon after they mate, the male arachnid has to rapidly leap away to avoid being eaten by its female partner, new research has revealed."

"More of the ingredients for life have been found in meteorites… Space rocks that fell to Earth within the last century contain the five bases that store information in DNA and RNA, scientists report April 26 in Nature Communications."

"A puzzling outbreak of sudden liver disease in nearly 200 children has health authorities in Europe and the U.S. racing to find answers… The illnesses have no known connection, although a possible link with a virus that can cause colds is being investigated. At least one child died and several others have required liver transplants."

"The United States is no longer in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the coronavirus' continuing global threat, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden. But Fauci also warns that people should still be mindful of the disease."

"'There's usually a day or two delay between when you might test positive on a PCR versus when you might test positive on one of these at-home rapid antigen tests,' Gounder said. 'But they do work to pick up an infection, and they should be used frequently.'" That means if you test yourself right away when you have symptoms, the test may not accurately detect a coronavirus infection.

"Several Ohio House Republicans have revived efforts to expand COVID-19 patients’ access to ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and other drugs that have been shown to be ineffective in treating the disease… The legislation would compel health departments to enter into agreements to 'promote and increase distribution' of the drugs. If health departments decline to do so, the legislation would allow citizens to sue the health departments to force their compliance." Hey ho, way to go, Ohio. (Grokked from John)

"Three out of every four U.S. children have been infected with the coronavirus and more than half of all Americans had signs of previous infections, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers estimated in a report Tuesday."

"Nearly 5,000 nurses at Stanford Health Care and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., went on strike Monday as they negotiate for better pay, more staffing and more support for their mental health."

"The first Ford F-150 Lightnings are rolling off assembly lines and heading to customers today after almost a year of anticipation. The company’s second EV after the successful Mustang Mach-E is in a category of one for the moment: the only full-size electric pickup truck available right now." Had a conversation with friends back in January about how Ford is (so far) approaching EVs with the right focus. And frankly, while I understand that the EV market has to focus on passenger cars, I never really understood why the automobile manufacturers haven't transitioned their entire truck and SUV lines to EVs yet. Those are the perfect vehicles to transfer from both the weight carrying capacity, internal storage room, and exactly where electric motors could have the most impact.

"In yet another rollback of a Trump-era policy, President Joe Biden's Department of Energy on Tuesday finalized a new efficiency rule to phase out older, high-energy incandescent light bulbs… The new rule states that light bulbs must emit a minimum of 45 lumens per watt. Lumens are a measure of brightness. The rule is an effective nail in the coffin for incandescent bulbs, which use a higher wattage than LED bulbs for the same amount of brightness."

"Delta Air Lines said it will start paying flight attendants during boarding, a first for a major U.S. airline and an initiative that comes during a unionization drive for the Atlanta-based airline’s biggest work group… Usually, flight attendants are paid starting when the aircraft doors close." And then there was this part… "The boarding pay is on top of the 4 percent raises Delta announced in March, employees’ first annual increase since 2019." Look, if all you're going to give is "cost of living" raises, then you have to do it every single year. So that's 2 years without a pay increase, which means an approximate 5% pay cut (without factoring in this years inflation).

"Home prices increased 19.8% in February year over year, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index. That is up from the 19.1% annual increase in January and is the third-highest reading in the index’s 35-year history."

"Elon Musk will soon hold the keys to Twitter… How might Musk wield that power?… Here are some proposals for Twitter that he's floated."

"Disney's self-governing special district, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, says that Florida's move to dissolve the district next year is not legal unless the state pays off Reedy Creek's extensive debts."

"Harvard is acknowledging its 'extensive entanglements with slavery' since its founding almost 400 years ago, and beginning work toward making amends… The world's wealthiest private university will commit $100 million to various forms of redress after a faculty report found that 'much remains to be done' to atone for that history."

"A Florida sheriff who encouraged homeowners to shoot intruders in order to 'save the taxpayers money' is being lambasted by Florida defense attorneys, who are accusing him of offering 'wildly irresponsible' advice that could cause needless loss of life and aggravate racial tensions."

"The Los Angeles County sheriff now says the department is not pursuing criminal charges against a journalist at the Los Angeles Times over a report about the attempted cover-up of an inmate abuse incident by sheriff's deputies… The announcement is an apparent change of course after a striking Tuesday news conference in which Sheriff Alex Villanueva, asked directly about Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian, responded that 'all parties' were subject to investigation."

"Russia cut off natural gas to NATO members Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday and threatened to do the same to other countries, dramatically escalating its standoff with the West over the war in Ukraine. European leaders decried the move as 'blackmail.'" Putin must go.

"A series of explosions were heard in the early hours of Wednesday in three Russian provinces bordering Ukraine, authorities said, and an ammunition depot in the Belgorod province caught fire around the same time." The center can not hold.

"President Biden is taking his first actions on clemency since he entered the White House, pardoning three people and shortening the prison terms of 75 more on Tuesday… White House officials say the president thinks too many people — many of them Black and brown — are serving unduly long sentences for drug crimes. The pardons and commutations are part of a broader White House effort to make the criminal justice system more fair , which was a key goal of Biden's 2020 presidential campaign."

"For weeks, Democrats have been divided on whether Title 42 should end. Several Democrats have expressed how an expected surge of migrants might cause chaotic scenes at the border ahead of the midterm elections and argued for extending Title 42, which keeps out migrants from a country where a communicable disease was present."

"A California man was arrested this week for allegedly threatening to bomb Merriam-Webster's offices and kill its employees over the dictionary publisher's definitions for women, federal prosecutors said."

"A Florida activist known for his tongue-in-cheek petitions to local government agencies has asked school districts in Florida to ban the Bible… His petitions cited a bill signed into law last month by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which lets parents object to educational materials. That bill came about after some parents complained about sexually explicit books being taught in Florida schools."

"One text from Greene to Meadows on Jan. 17, 2021 – three days before President Joe Biden was inaugurated – mentioned lawmakers discussing martial law… Greene, R-Ga., testified Friday in federal court in Georgia, in a case where voters are trying to disqualify her from the ballot because of her support for overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election. When asked whether she advocated martial law, she replied twice: 'I don't recall.'"

"A judge in New York found former President Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to produce documents pursuant to a subpoena from state Attorney General Letitia James. James is conducting a civil probe of the Trump Organization's business practices… Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a penalty of $10,000 a day until Trump fully complies."

Monday, April 25, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday April 25

"Accepting the Mark Twain Award, Stewart talked about the current state of comedy in American culture… 'Comedy survives every moment. Having Bassem here is an example of the true threat to comedy,' said Stewart. The real threat, Stewart believes, is 'not the fragility of audiences' or 'the pronoun police,' but rather, 'the fragility of leaders.'"

"In 1997, Hagel joined with the Democratic senator Robert Byrd to promote a resolution opposing the international agreement to limit greenhouse gases, on the grounds that it was unfair to Americans. The measure passed the US Senate without a single dissenting vote, after a vigorous campaign by big oil to mischaracterise the Kyoto protocol as a threat to jobs and the economy while falsely claiming that China and India could go on polluting to their heart’s content." Big Oil would lie to us? Shocked, shocked I am…

"U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff in North Carolina welcomed a litter of six red wolf pups into the world earlier this week. It's the first time in four years that a pair of wild red wolves — a species teetering on the brink of extinction — gave birth to a litter in the wild."

"A research study released on April 22, 2022, in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine shows that a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine provides strong protection, roughly 80% to 90%, in the first few months against hospital admissions and emergency department visits caused by the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19. However, this protection against omicron deteriorates over time – even after a third vaccine dose."

"It's hard to overstate the disruptive impact the pandemic has had on people… Its effect on mental health is a big one, and for teenagers, that hit particularly hard… Almost half of teens reported consistently feeling sad or hopeless — almost every day for two weeks or more in a row, to the point that they stopped doing their usual activities — in the 12 months before taking the survey."

"Many states are scaling back on how often they report key Covid-19 statistics, a shift that some experts worry might hinder efforts to mitigate outbreaks and negative effects of the coronavirus… A year ago, all 50 states were reporting new Covid-19 cases on a daily basis. But that has gradually trailed off. This week, Pennsylvania will be the latest state to switch from daily to weekly updates, leaving just six states that will still be reporting new Covid-19 cases every day of the week."

"Authorities battling Shanghai's latest Covid outbreak have installed fences to restrict the population's movement… Green barriers have appeared without warning outside buildings where those inside are forbidden from leaving… One resident told the BBC a green fence appeared inside his locked-up compound three days ago without any explanation."

"The world's top palm-oil producer announced that it would ban exports of the commodity starting on Thursday, sending the prices of edible oils soaring… Indonesia accounts for about half of the world's supply of palm oil, the world's most widely used vegetable oil. Palm oil is used for cooking and for the production of thousands of consumer products, including biscuits, detergents, and lipsticks."

"Twitter's board and Tesla CEO Elon Musk negotiated into the early hours of Monday over his bid to buy the social media platform, The New York Times reported… Musk said last week that he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to buy Twitter, putting pressure on the company's board to negotiate a deal."

"Oil prices fell sharply Monday as lockdowns in China stoked concerns that the country's zero-Covid strategy will sap energy demand in the world's second-largest economy… US oil dropped 5.6% to a two-week low of $96.33 a barrel Monday morning, while Brent, the world benchmark, fell 4.9% to $101.43 a barrel."

"French President Emmanuel Macron comfortably won reelection to a second term Sunday. The results brought relief to allies that the nuclear-armed power won't abruptly shift course in the midst of the war in Ukraine from European Union and NATO efforts to punish and contain Russia's military expansionism."

"Pathologists and coroners who are carrying out postmortems on bodies found in mass graves in the region north of Kyiv, where occupying Russian forces have been accused of atrocities, said they had found small metal darts, called fléchettes, embedded in people’s heads and chests." Motherfuckers. (Groked from Xeni Jardin)

"Civilians flee the port city of Odesa after a Russian strike kills at least 8 people."

"Large fires broke out early on Monday at two oil depots in the Russian city of Bryansk, less than 100 miles from the border with Ukraine, in a potential act of sabotage by Kyiv… Russian state media said the first fire occurred at a civilian facility in Bryansk holding 10,000 tons of fuel, followed by a second fire at a military fuel depot holding 5,000 tons." Remember when the Russians claimed Ukraine struck fuel depots in Belgorod at the beginning of the month, only to have it turn out to be a false flag operation? Good times. Good times.

"Ukraine has urged Russia to hold a “special round of talks” on evacuating fighters and civilians holding out in a vast steel plant in the shattered port city of Mariupol… The call from an adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday came as new footage of people purportedly sheltering at the Azovstal steel plant showed women saying they only had water and food to last a few more days."

"The U.S. Supreme Court jumps back into the culture wars Monday in a case that involves a football coach's asserted right to kneel and pray on the 50-yard line at the conclusion of a public school football game… Joseph Kennedy, a coach for the Bremerton, Wash., High School Varsity and JV football teams began praying with his players before and after games in 2008. At the end of a game, he would take a knee and say a prayer with his players at midfield."

"The story of Exitos Capital, the current owner of Cannon’s home, shows the difficulty the city faces in reaching out-of-town investors – and the challenges those investors can encounter in keeping track of their holdings… The company jumped into the Cleveland market in March 2018. That month, Exitos bought 27 properties – all from the same seller – for $611,000, according to county records. The company obtained more houses through 2018, until it owned a total of 43, by my count… Then the citations came."

"The path to keeping the Democrats' majority in the House of Representatives in November's midterms runs right through the Valley of the Sun in Arizona. Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton, a former mayor of Phoenix, won his district handily in 2020, but a redrawn map landed him on the GOP list of targeted lawmakers in 2022."

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's latest vow of loyalty to ex-President Donald Trump offers the clearest signal yet about the character of the likely Republican House majority that could rock Washington next year… The Californian's quickly exposed denial last week of a true, private remark that he might ask Trump to resign after the January 6 riot was important not just because it added a new detail about the attack on US democracy in 2021… Rather, the choice he made -- between telling a blatant lie or destroying his own dream of being speaker by confirming the truth and alienating the ex-President -- reveals the vital power calculation underpinning the modern GOP. That dynamic hands Trump enormous potential proxy power if the party makes good on its strong prospects and wins the House of Representatives in November."

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Linkee-poo Saturday April 23

"This has turned communicators of all kinds — from fashion influencers to public health specialists — into Kremlinologists who obsessively analyze the behavior of social media algorithms in the hopes of learning how to please them and (more importantly) how to avoid their punishments… Hence algospeak." Double plus ungood.

"Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared a new Ebola outbreak on Friday, after a case was confirmed in the city of Mbandaka, in the northwestern Equateur Province, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement Saturday."

"Children may be less likely than adults to be hospitalized with COVID-19, but a recent study found those who are still unvaccinated are suffering the worst consequences of the disease compared to their vaccinated peers… They found COVID-related hospitalization rates were about twice as high among unvaccinated children as those who were vaccinated during the omicron wave from December to February, according to the report published this week in the agency’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report."

Hey, remember all those times you were told how smart stock investor are, and how they've already factored in "the future". Hold that thought. "Stocks tumbled on Wall Street Friday, leaving the S&P 500 with its biggest one-day loss in almost seven weeks, as worries deepen about a surge in interest rates and the U.S. central bank's efforts to fight inflation… Several disappointing profit reports from companies also shook what's been the market's main pillar of support."

"U.S. labor officials are petitioning a federal court to force Starbucks to bring back activist employees who they say were removed for their union campaigning, according to a Friday filing… The National Labor Relations Board’s Phoenix chief is seeking an injunction against Starbucks that would require it to reinstate three employees that were allegedly illegally discharged, forced out or placed on unpaid leave."

"The bill will undercut Disney's autonomy, but it could impose a steep cost on Orange and Osceola counties, where the theme park is located. The two counties would inherit the Disney district's debts, which officials say would result in higher taxes… Here's a quick rundown of the situation…" It just keeps getting worse for DeSantis, except that they next taxes won't be due until after this fall's election for Florida governor.

"A tour boat with 26 people aboard was missing in the frigid waters of northern Japan on Saturday, hours after sending a distress call that it was sinking, the coast guard said."

"The Russian missile cruiser that was damaged in a fire on April 14 was hit and ultimately sunk by Ukrainian missile strikes, a senior U.S. defense official confirmed the following day. Russia and Ukraine have offered differing accounts of what happened to the Moskva… On April 22, the Russian Defense Ministry said one servicemen died and 27 more crew are missing. Initially, the ministry had said it had evacuated the entire crew from the vessel after ammunition exploded on board." The cat is on the roof and we can't get her down.

"Russia's bombardment has caused at least $60 billion in damage to Ukraine's infrastructure, World Bank president David Malpass said Thursday."

"The suspect in a shooting in northwest Washington, DC, that left four people wounded on Friday afternoon has died, DC Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said."

"Prosecutors will no longer pursue illegal voter registration charges against a Tennessee woman who was granted a new trial after she challenged her jury conviction, a district attorney said Friday… Charges against Black Lives Matter activist Pamela Moses, 44, were being dismissed and she will no longer face a second trial "in the interest of judicial economy," Shelby County district attorney Amy Weirich said in a statement."

"A man set himself on fire in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday night, a court spokesperson said, while emphasizing that there was no threat to public safety."

"In the first-ever military trial for a general in the 75-year history of the US air force, a two-star general was found guilty Saturday of abusive sexual contact for forcibly kissing his sister-in-law after a family barbecue… Maj Gen William Cooley faces up to seven years in prison, a dishonorable discharge and the loss of his air force pay and benefits at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Monday."

"Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., suggested that the House Jan. 6 committee's upcoming hearings will be dramatic and include explosive revelations that the panel has been piecing together behind the scenes for months." The article ends with a quote from Raskin that implies that the VP felt his Secret Service detail was in on the plot. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Controversial Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia on Friday defended her comments ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol while testifying under oath as part of a challenge to her reelection by voters and a supporting legal group, who are seeking to knock her off the ballot for her role prior to the riot." Seems the good congresswoman doesn't remember very much. Must be the cocaine orgies.

"The Republican Party is facing a new moment of reckoning tied to its top leaders and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol… It follows the release of two private audio conversations involving House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, including a new tape in which he claims Trump admitted some responsibility for the insurrection."

Friday, April 22, 2022

Linkee-poo Earth Day 2022

"Best Buy is recalling 772,000 air fryers and air fryer ovens sold in the U.S. and Canada after more than 100 incidents in which the products caught fire, burned or melted, in one case hurting a child… The company has heard from 68 U.S. residents and 36 Canadians complaining of the fryers and ovens overheating, Best Buy said Thursday in a notice posted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The reports include two injuries — one involving a child's leg, and seven involving minor property damage, the retailer disclosed."

"CNN+, the cable news network's streaming platform, is shutting down on April 30, just one month after its buzzy launch, according to an internal memo obtained by NPR… Management decided to shutter the new service, following a merger between Discovery and CNN's parent company WarnerMedia earlier this month to form Warner Bros. Discovery."

"President Biden will sign an executive order to inventory and protect old-growth forests while visiting Seattle later Friday… The order requires the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture to come up with a shared definition of mature and old-growth forests and gives them a year to take stock of their numbers in the U.S. After collecting that data, the agencies must come up with new policies to manage and conserve these wooded areas, with an eye towards threats like wildfires."

"For the past 20 years, Sam has been trying to find evidence of a fifth force of nature, with gravity, electromagnetism and two nuclear forces being the four that physicists already know about… He's pinning his hopes on a major revamp of the Large Hadron Collider. It's the world's most advanced particle accelerator - a vast machine that smashes atoms together to break them apart and discover what is inside them… It's been souped up even further in a three-year upgrade. Its instruments are more sensitive, allowing researchers to study the collision of particles from the inside of atoms in higher definition; its software has been enhanced so that it is able to take data at a rate of 30 million times each second; and its beams are narrower, which greatly increases the number of collisions."

"U.S. health officials have sent out a nationwide alert warning doctors to be on the lookout for symptoms of pediatric hepatitis, possibly linked with a cold virus, as part of a wider probe into unexplained cases of severe liver inflammation in young children… The warning follows investigations in the United States and Europe of clusters of hepatitis in young children."

"These provide clues including about whether a patient has had past exposure to environmental causes of cancer such as smoking or UV light, for example… This is important as these signatures allow doctors to look at each patient’s tumour and match it to specific treatments and medications… However, these patterns can be detected only through analysis of the vast amounts of data unearthed by whole genome sequencing – identifying the genetic makeup of a cell."

"Just how likely are you to pick up a case of COVID-19 on that upcoming flight, bus commute or train ride?… This is what many Americans are trying to gauge after a Florida judge's ruling halted the federal requirement to wear a mask on most forms of public transit."

"Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell affirmed the central bank’s determination to bring down inflation and said Thursday that aggressive rate hikes are possible as soon as next month… 'It is appropriate in my view to be moving a little more quickly' to raise interest rates, Powell said… 'I would say 50 basis points will be on the table for the May meeting.'… Powell’s statements essentially meet market expectations that the Fed will depart from its usual 25 basis point hikes and move more quickly to tame inflation that is running at its fastest pace in more than 40 years. A basis point equals 0.01 percentage point."

"France has issued an international arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn, the auto tycoon who jumped bail in Japan and fled to Lebanon in a sensational getaway… The warrant was issued over 15 million euros ($16.3m) in suspect payments between the Renault-Nissan alliance that Ghosn once headed and an Omani company, Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Nanterre told AFP news agency on Friday."

"French voters are expected to hand Emmanuel Macron five more years in office on Sunday, favoring the president over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen after a strong showing in a fiery debate. But investors remain on edge… With polls indicating the presidential election is narrower than when the two candidates faced off in 2017, traders are girding for a surprise Le Pen win, which would rattle Europe's second biggest economy as fears of a recession in the region grow."

"Israeli police in full riot gear stormed a sensitive Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims on Friday after Palestinian youths hurled stones at a gate where they were stationed… The renewed violence at the site, which is sacred to Jews and Muslims, came despite Israel temporarily halting Jewish visits, which are seen by the Palestinians as a provocation. Medics said more than two dozen Palestinians were wounded before the clashes subsided hours later." Ah, it must be Spring again.

"Since the U.S. imposed sanctions in March, American refineries have stopped welcoming tanker ships laden with Russian oil. But Russian crude exports to other parts of the world have been increasing… The American sanctions aim to cut the hard-currency revenues that feed the Russian economy and its war effort: 36% of Russian federal budget revenues came from oil and gas last year, according to Russia's Finance Ministry. But while the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia have formal embargoes, most countries around the world don't, and oil refineries from India to Spain are still purchasing Russian crude."

"As Russian troops tighten their grip on the strategic port town of Mariupol, their strategy is finally becoming clear. Russian military commander Rustam Minnekaev now says the second phase of President Vladimir Putin’s 'special operation' is focused on establishing a 'land corridor' from the Donbas all the way to Moldova, which would cut off the rest of Ukraine from the sea."

"Satellite imagery has revealed what Ukrainian officials say appears to be another mass grave in Ukraine… The site was spotted outside the port city of Mariupol, in the eastern part of the country, which has seen some of the worst fighting since Russia invaded."

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Congress may continue to exclude Puerto Rican residents from a federal safety net program that provides direct payments to poor, disabled, and blind American citizens… At issue was whether the Supplemental Security Income program can constitutionally exclude American citizens who reside in Puerto Rico. Congress established the program in 1972 to provide a minimum income for the neediest adults who are over 65, blind, or disabled. Conspicuously excluded from benefits were citizens living in Puerto Rico and other territories."

"Guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, killing more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer."

"After months of back and forth, lawmakers in Florida have passed Gov. Ron DeSantis' controversial congressional district voting map — and have pushed forward his last-minute plan to scrap Disney World's special regulatory status in the state." Tell them what they've won, Johnny! It's billions in debt and a new income tax!

"More of your mail is about to get slower. First it was letters and now some packages may take longer to arrive… The U.S. Postal Service currently considers a first-class package to be late if it's delivered more than three days after it was sent. But under new standards that take effect next month, more than 30% of first-class packages will be seen as delivered on time if they arrive within four or five days."

"A potentially precedent-setting disqualification hearing will kick off Friday in an Atlanta courtroom to determine if Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is constitutionally barred from running for reelection because of her role in the January 6 insurrection." This could be a sizzler of legalese and finesse, but will probably dissolve into name calling (at least that's where I put my money).

"Earlier this month, the far-right website Gateway Pundit published a surreptitiously taken recording of Republican Sen. John Boozman saying the 2020 election results were legitimate… The Arkansas senator immediately reached out to former President Donald Trump — who told allies he was angry about the remarks, which cut against his false claim that the election was stolen from him — to try to contain the damage."

"New audio released by New York Times reporters on MSNBC confirms that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told some of his fellow Republican lawmakers that he planned to urge former President Donald Trump to resign following the January 6 Capitol riot… McCarthy and his office denied making the comments several times, both in response to multiple media outlets and in a social media statement Thursday in which he called the Times' initial reporting of the quote 'totally false and wrong.'" Oh what webs we weave.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday April 21

"Wow, NASA just released a video shot by the Mars Perseverance rover of a solar eclipse by the moon Phobos." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"Astronomers have discovered a new kind of star explosion called a micronova. Although it may be smaller than the giant supernova explosions that claim the lives of stars, this incendiary event still packs a punch… Each micronova can burn through 'around 3.5 billion Great Pyramids of Giza' of material (or 20,000,000 trillion kilograms) in just a few hours, according to the researchers."

"The Lyrid meteor shower will peak on Thursday and Friday, and will be best seen from the northern hemisphere… The Lyrids, which are active from April 15 to 29, are known for their fast and bright meteors that often leave glowing dust trains behind them as they streak through the sky, according to NASA."

"As western regions contend with drier conditions, New York City is under fire for sometimes releasing hundreds of millions of gallons of water a day from a key reservoir in the Catskill Mountains… The occasional releases, often around storms, have been used to manage water levels in the Ashokan Reservoir and to keep the water clear. But residents downstream say the periodic surges cause ecological harm along the lower Esopus Creek. They say the high flows churn up the water so much it turns the scenic Hudson River tributary into the color of chocolate milk."

"In its first detailed plan to slow the rise in drug overdose deaths, the Biden administration is emphasizing harm reduction… That means increasing access to clean needles, fentanyl test strips and naloxone. Clean needles help reduce the spread of disease. Fentanyl test strips enable drug users to check if they are about to consume this powerful opioid that can shut down breathing in seconds. Naloxone is a drug that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose."

"A Waldo County resident has died after being infected by a rare virus spread by infected ticks, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed… Officials say the adult-aged person developed neurological symptoms and died while in the hospital. They believe the person became infected with the Powassan virus while in Maine."

"Lu’s death underscores how the true extent of the virus toll in Shanghai has been obscured by Chinese authorities. Doctors told Lu’s relatives she died because COVID-19 exacerbated her underlying heart disease and high blood pressure, yet she still was not counted… Interviews with family members of patients who have tested positive, a publicly released phone call with a government health official and an internet archive compiled by families of the dead all raise issues with how the city is counting its cases and deaths, almost certainly resulting in a marked undercount."

"The U.S. Justice Department said it's appealing the ruling by a federal judge that voided the mask mandate for public transportation… DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said a notice of appeal had been filed in light of the determination by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that wearing a mask 'remains necessary to protect the public health.'"

"A surge in robberies at licensed cannabis shops — including a pistol-whipping, gunshots and killings in Washington state last month — is helping fuel a renewed push for federal banking reforms that would make the cash-dependent stores a less appealing target."

"When Starbucks announced Howard Schultz would return to the company as interim CEO, investors cheered. His first tenure as chief executive turned the company into a global brand and his second, years later, revived both the business and its stock price… But the applause has since quieted as Wall Street forecasts that the coffee giant will keep spending money in its effort to stem a unionization tide."

"Workers at an Apple Store in Atlanta filed for a union election on Wednesday in a bid to become the first group of retail employees at the tech giant to unionize."

"The problems date back to the founding of Los Angeles-based Break The Floor Productions; as the company has grown into an industry powerhouse, its leaders perpetuated a culture of sex and silence, according to interviews with dozens of former and current staff and students."

"Elon Musk says he's secured money for his bid to take Twitter private and is considering making his pitch directly to shareholders." Heard this one before.

"But she could no longer afford the pay cut that came with being in the classroom… That changed in 2020, when Hawaii started paying special education teachers $10,000 more per year… But Hawaii's pay increase, which began in 2020, was a game changer. Before the incentive, in October 2019, almost 30% of the state's special education positions were vacant or staffed by teachers without appropriate licenses, district data shows. By October 2021, that number dropped by half, to about 15%." Funny how that works.

"The Biden administration is launching a program that will allow U.S. citizens and groups to financially sponsor Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion of their country so that they can come to the U.S. sooner, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday… Ukrainians who are selected to travel to the U.S. under the initiative will be granted humanitarian parole, allowing them to bypass the visa and refugee programs, which typically take years to complete. While it does not offer permanent status, parole would allow Ukrainians to live and work in the U.S. for two years."

"The United States will send a new $800 million arms package to Ukraine, supplementing its military with heavy artillery as Ukrainians try to fend off renewed Russian attacks on the eastern and southern parts of the country… Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military to ditch its plan to storm the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol, where several thousand Ukrainian troops as well as civilians are encamped, opting instead to continue to seal off the facility via blockade." It's called a siege.

"Theis called Sen. Mallory McMorrow a liberal social media 'troll' and accused her of wanting to 'groom' and 'sexualize' kindergartners and teach 'that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.'… McMorrow responded Tuesday with a forceful, impassioned floor speech that resonated nationwide."

"A bystander video that shows Syracuse, New York, police detaining a sobbing 8-year-old boy has prompted an internal investigation, officials said… The video, which had garnered 5.5 million views Wednesday evening, shows an officer restraining the boy by both arms from behind while the child is crying."

"Florida Senate approves stripping Disney of self-government power…" and their gerrymandered map.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday April 20

"European officials are debating whether they can stop buying natural gas imports from Russia. Many say it can't be done. But the biggest city in Switzerland – Zurich – is already taking ambitious steps to wean itself off gas. It's shutting down the flow of gas to whole parts of the city."

"Human-induced climate change fueled one of the most active North Atlantic hurricane seasons on record in 2020, according to a study published in the journal Nature… The study analyzed the 2020 season and the impact of human activity on climate change. It found that hourly hurricane rainfall totals were up to 10% higher when compared to hurricanes that took place in the pre-industrial era in 1850, according to a news release from Stony Brook University."

"But in recent years, NASA has been funding a second, much smaller-scale Moon program, at just 3 percent of the cost of Artemis. This is the "Commercial Lunar Payload Services" program, which seeks to use private companies to send small- and medium-size landers to the Moon's surface for primarily science-based missions. Its budget is about $250 million per year."

"No new cases of avian flu have been reported two days after a Lancaster County poultry farm destroyed nearly 1.5 million chickens to stop the spread… The Kreider Farms Donegal egg-laying facility remains under quarantine, along with farms in about a six-mile radius. Those farms are testing for bird flu."

"You might want to stop filling your bird feeders… Experts warn that an outbreak of the avian influenza (HPAI) strain H5N1 is spreading among wild birds… And they say bird feeders and baths that encourage birds to congregate in your backyard allow the virus to spread." Except for, you know, birds having become dependent on feeders as their own habit and food sources have shrunk.

"'We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus,' (Delta) said in the original version of its Monday statement… Passengers, medical experts and public health leaders promptly turned to social media to dispute the claim and call out the lack of scientific evidence behind it. Delta updated its statement at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, with a spokesperson telling NPR over email that it had done so 'for clarity and accuracy' and declining to comment further." Just a reminder, it is still a pandemic.

"The administration argued that masks qualified as 'sanitation' under the law, but (Judge) Mizelle disagreed, opting for a much narrower definition of the term that would exclude measures like face coverings. Legal experts say her interpretation missed the mark." Gee, a judge that was rated as "unqualified" but affirmed anyway doesn't understand the legal definitions of basic words? Shocked I am…

"Housing activity slowed for a second straight month in March… Existing home sales fell 2.7% to a seasonally adjusted 5.77 million units in March from a month earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Home sales fell across all regions in the U.S. from February. The NAR also revised February existing home sales downward to 5.93 million from 6.02 million. The number of sales was down 4.5% from the same month a year ago."

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's order imposing safety inspections on trucks crossing the border from Mexico inflicted billions of dollars in U.S. trade losses — including $1 billion per week at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge alone, according to the latest tallies of the slowdown's economic fallout." Great job, Greg.

"Some of the nation's largest retailers have been using soaring inflation rates as an excuse to raise prices and rake in billions of dollars in additional profit, a corporate watchdog group charged on Friday… Companies such as CVS Health, Kroger and T.J. Maxx parent company TJX appear to have raised their prices unnecessarily in 2020 and 2021 at a time when Americans were dealing with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Accountable.US said in a new report. Instead of keeping prices stable for struggling families, corporations have overcharged Americans and prioritized profit, the group claims." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig, I think)

"Netflix has lost 200,000 U.S. subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, marking its first drop in customers in more than a decade, the company announced Tuesday… It attributed the losses to factors such as stronger competition, the Ukraine-Russia conflict and password sharing." Naughty naughty.

"Netflix plans to launch a lower-priced subscription tier with ads, CEO Reed Hastings said Tuesday in an interview to discuss first-quarter earnings. Netflix revenue growth is slowing amid a loss in subscribers, and the company's stock price was down about 37 percent Wednesday as of this writing."

"In the climax of France’s presidential campaign, centrist President Emmanuel Macron and far-right contender Marine Le Pen will meet Wednesday evening in a one-on-one television debate that could prove decisive before Sunday’s runoff vote."

"A Ukrainian marine commander in Mariupol has made what he described as his troops' "last address to the world" as they try to resist overwhelming Russian forces in the city… They were outnumbered and running out of supplies, Major Serhiy Volyna said… A Russian deadline for the surrender of Ukrainian forces has passed with no sign that the troops have complied."

"It is currently planting season in Ukraine, but many of the country's farmers aren't tending to their fields. Last month, the U.N. warned Ukraine may not be able to harvest crops, plant new ones or sustain livestock production, after an assessment of 19 of the country's 24 regions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged farmers who are still on their land to plant as many crops as possible in the spring."

"In a surprise move, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has expanded a special session of the legislature this week to target the state's premier attraction, Disney World… Lawmakers will consider a bill that would end all "independent special districts" in the state formed before 1968." Note this is probably less about Disney's criticism of the "Don't Say Gay" bill, but more about Disney halting political contributions.

"The fact that Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Grendell employs an armed constable is something of a peculiarity." Some of the local politics that are especially a little seedy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Linkee-poo Tuesday April 19

"Archeologists say they will soon open a human shaped lead sarcophagus found underneath the floor at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris… The announcement came around the three-year anniversary of a devastating fire that engulfed the more than 850-year-old national monument and shocked the world… Among the tombs recently discovered was a human-shaped lead sarcophagus which archeologists believe may date to the 14th century, but they won't know for sure until it is opened." Don't any of these people watch horror movies?

"Engineers at MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have designed a heat engine with no moving parts. Their new demonstrations show that it converts heat to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency — a performance better than that of traditional steam turbines… The heat engine is a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell, similar to a solar panel’s photovoltaic cells, that passively captures high-energy photons from a white-hot heat source and converts them into electricity. The team’s design can generate electricity from a heat source of between 1,900 to 2,400 degrees Celsius, or up to about 4,300 degrees Fahrenheit." (Grokked from John)

"A dolphin stranded on a Texas beach died after being harassed by a crowd of people who also tried to ride the animal, according to rescuers… The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network posted on Facebook that a female dolphin was found stranded, but alive, on Quintana Beach in Texas last Sunday. Beachgoers pushed the animal back into the sea, but it was further harassed by people who attempted to ride the sick animal."

"There's never been a house call quite like this. In a first for telepresence communication, a NASA flight surgeon was 'holoported' to the International Space Station (ISS), appearing and conversing as a virtual presence in real time, hundreds of miles above the surface of Earth." Well, sort of. You have to wear the headset.

"Health officials say they have detected more cases of a mysterious liver disease in children that was first identified in Britain, with new infections spreading to Europe and the U.S."

"Major U.S. airlines, including Delta and United, tossed out mask requirements on Monday after a federal judge struck down the Biden administration's transportation mask mandate, giving customers and staff the first respite from the coronavirus restrictions in nearly two years." So in about 10 days the airline industry will face a staffing crisis. In confined spaces, masks are most effective when everyone wears them.

"Dow gains 400 points, tech stocks climb as investors digest latest batch of corporate earnings." Money money money.

"A growing coalition of epidemiologists and aerosol scientists say that improved ventilation could be a powerful tool against the coronavirus — if businesses are willing to invest the money." Shit, even without COVID companies could see solid gains by correcting problems with their ventilation problems (and yes, most businesses and indoor public places have problems with ventilation). But they haven't. And they won't. Because when it comes down to the vote, it's "more money spent on air." And that's how it always dies.

"The drama over Musk's $43 billion takeover bid for Twitter is heating up, not just because the company's board is resisting him, but because other players are starting to appear on the scene… So will the billionaire's bid succeed, or will he back down? And what important factors are still in flux?… Here's a rundown of where things stand and what could happen next."

"A public university in southern Ohio has agreed to pay a professor $400,000 after it disciplined him four years ago for refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronouns, according to Shawnee State University and a news release from the professor's attorney." Man settle lawsuit allowing him to be an ass.

"The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global growth projections for 2022 and 2023, saying the economic hit from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine will 'propagate far and wide.'"

"A charity kitchen in Ukraine linked to celebrity chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen was destroyed by a missile, according to a tweet from the nonprofit's CEO, Nate Mook… The nonprofit has been on the ground serving families fleeing Ukraine since the day after the Russian invasion began."

"Ukrainians have been expecting a renewed Russian offensive in the eastern region known as the Donbas, and now Ukraine's president says it's underway… President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening address that Russian forces have begun their new offensive against cities in the east and south, adding that a "substantial part" of the Russian army is now taking part in the military operation."

"Ten people were shot and two others injured in a shooting at a busy shopping mall in South Carolina’s capital that authorities do not believe was a random attack." Just another day in America.

"The media outlet InfoWars filed for bankruptcy in Texas on Sunday in the face of mounting legal pressure over comments made by founder and host, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones." Close them up and liquidate assets. Salt the earth they stood upon.

"The Florida DOE rejected more than 50 mathematics textbooks — about 40% of those submitted — for failing to meet Florida’s new learning standards or because they 'contained prohibited topics' that included references to critical race theory." Making your kids dumb to own the libs.

"The Interior Department on Friday said it's moving forward with the first onshore sales of public oil and natural gas drilling leases under President Joe Biden, but will sharply increase royalty rates for companies as federal officials weigh efforts to fight climate change against pressure to bring down high gasoline prices… The royalty rate for new leases will increase to 18.75% from 12.5%. That's a 50% jump and marks the first increase to royalties for the federal government since they were imposed in the 1920s."

"A South Carolina prisoner scheduled to be the first man executed in the state in more than a decade has decided to die by firing squad rather than in the electric chair later this month, according to court documents filed Friday… Richard Bernard Moore, 57, is the also first state prisoner to face the choice of execution methods after a law went into effect last year making electrocution the default and giving inmates the option to face three prison workers with rifles instead."

"Black's ad is attacking Walker for his alleged violence. But the ultimate framing here is about whether he can win and how Democrats will attack him in a general election bid against Sen. Raphael Warnock. Indeed, the ad ends with a lengthy cut of NBC's Chuck Todd saying that Warnock, a Democrat, would be better off running against Walker… It's emblematic of political calculations in multiple congressional races nationwide in which Republican candidates are accused of past violence and abuse." If you would have one candidate with these problems, well that's a problem with vetting. That there are multiple candidates with this problem, well that a problem with the party.

"A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for a coalition of liberal groups to move forward with their attempt to disqualify controversial GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for reelection, based on claims that she aided the January 6 insurrectionists."

Friday, April 15, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday April 15

Sorry about the disruptions to the feed these past weeks. The day thing has been very busy and there's been plenty of things happening in real life.

Gilbert Gottfried, and so it goes.

"Heavy rains and flooding battered the eastern coast of South Africa on Wednesday, killing at least 306 people, damaging roads and destroying homes."

"California’s clean-air regulators unveiled a plan this week that would ramp up the sale of electric and zero-emissions vehicles while phasing out the sale of new gasoline-fueled vehicles by 2035, in an aggressive effort to combat the state’s greenhouse gas pollution."

"Exposure to a toxic rock dust appears to be 'the main driving force' behind a recent epidemic of severe black lung disease among coal miners, according to the findings of a new study. Lawmakers have debated and failed to adequately regulate the dust for decades."

"To help mitigate the spread of bird flu, the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota is asking people to take down bird feeders and stop using bird baths this spring." I'm not entirely convinced that will help.

"When Philadelphia’s health commissioner announced this week that the city’s indoor mask mandate would be reinstated as Covid-19 cases there rise, something unusual happened: Not a single other major U.S. city followed suit."

"The study—which dove deep into the noses, nerves, and brains of 23 people who died of COVID-19—is the most detailed look at the coronavirus' effects on our sniffers. Researchers concluded that inflammation—not the virus—is behind the loss of smell and taste during a bout of COVID-19, which is good news in some ways. It suggests that treatments with anti-inflammatory drugs could prevent severe or long-term damage to those critical senses."

"As allergy season collides with yet another rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide, deciphering the difference between symptoms of the coronavirus and allergies can be tricky. So how can you tell the difference between the two?"

"Warning lights are flashing for the U.S. economy… A growing number of forecasters now believe a recession is on the horizon as the Federal Reserve gears up to raise interest rates sharply to combat the highest inflation in more than 40 years."

"Mortgage rates rose again this week, reaching 5% for the first time in over a decade… The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5% in the week ending April 14, up from 4.72% the week before, according to Freddie Mac. That's the highest since 2010."

"Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal is trying to assuage employee fears in the wake of Elon Musk launching a hostile $43 billion takeover attempt of the social media company… At an all-staff meeting on Thursday, Agrawal said Twitter's board is considering Musk's offer and will act in the best interest of company shareholders, according to two employees in attendance."

"Palestinians clashed with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday as thousands gathered for prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. Medics said more than 150 Palestinians were wounded in the most serious violence at the site in nearly a year."

"People seeking asylum in the UK could now be relocated to Rwanda under a controversial new scheme blasted by international human rights groups as 'shockingly ill-conceived' and contrary to international obligations… UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the scheme an 'innovative approach, driven by our shared humanitarian impulse and made possible by Brexit freedoms,' on Thursday, saying that with the UK's help, Rwanda will have the capacity to resettle 'tens of thousands of people in the years ahead.'"

"A Russian warship that was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday has sunk, Russia's defence ministry has said… Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, was being towed to port when 'stormy seas' caused it to sink, according to a ministry message."

"As Russian troops retreated from areas around Kyiv, officials, aid workers and journalists received reports from local residents that soldiers had raped them. A Ukrainian lawmaker said that sexual violence is 'systematic in all the areas that were occupied by the Russians.'"

"Video shows Ukrainian soldier taking apart a Russian drone and discovering its components include a plastic bottle top for a fuel cap." Giggle all you want, but if it's effective on the battlefield it doesn't matter if it was assembled with bailing wire and chewing gum.

"Moldova said on Wednesday that reports that Russia's army was trying to recruit Moldovan citizens were dangerous and that it was regularly discussing all matters of concern with Russian officials, in response to a question about the Ukraine war… The comments came days after British military intelligence said that Moscow was trying to replenish its forces in Ukraine by recruiting in the breakaway Transdniestria region."

"Transgender women and girls in Kentucky will no longer be allowed to compete on sports teams consistent with their gender at public and private schools in the state after lawmakers on Wednesday overrode a veto from their Democratic governor to enact the restrictive measure."

"The man suspected of shooting 10 people on a subway train in Brooklyn on Tuesday called in a tip to Crime Stoppers that led to his capture Wednesday, two law enforcement sources told CNN."

"Buck, 67, a wealthy gay white donor to Democratic, LGBTQ and animal rights causes, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 30 years in federal prison for injecting two men with lethal doses of methamphetamine as part of a fetish that turned fatal."

"Tester said that Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a critical swing vote on sweeping voting-rights reforms, had signaled his support for the bill and, more crucially, the parliamentary-rules change needed to bypass a Republican filibuster of that bill. 'I think it’s gonna happen,' Tester said." But then, Manchin bailed. And has kept doing it.

Hey look, actual voter fraud… "Two residents from The Villages confessed to voter fraud charges after filing two ballots in the 2020 Presidential election, court records show… Charles F. Barnes and Jay Ketcik pleaded guilty to casting more than one ballot in an election, a third-degree felony that could have resulted in a maximum five-year prison sentence." Oh wait, one's Republican and the other is "not affiliated". So it's conservatives again. Never mind.

"Donald Trump’s decision to endorse celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race has divided local Republican Party officials and stunned close advisers who thought he had decided to stay out of the contest to pick a Republican candidate, two sources familiar with internal deliberations told Reuters."

"In the weeks between the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, almost 100 text messages from two staunch GOP allies of then-President Donald Trump reveal an aggressive attempt to lobby, encourage and eventually warn the White House over its efforts to overturn the election, according to messages obtained by the House select committee and reviewed by CNN." Hey guys, I appreciate the whole "trial in the court of public opinion" movements, but you're not really moving the needle at all. You need convictions in a court of law and all you're doing now is tainting the jury pool.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Linkee-poo Tuesday April 12

"At least five people were shot in a New York City subway station on Tuesday during morning rush hour, police said. Authorities say they are still looking for the shooter… The shooting took place at 36th Street Station in Brooklyn's Sunset Park around 8:30 a.m."

"NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has determined the size of the largest icy comet nucleus ever seen by astronomers. The estimated diameter is approximately 80 miles across, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island. The nucleus is about 50 times larger than found at the heart of most known comets. Its mass is estimated to be a staggering 500 trillion tons, a hundred thousand times greater than the mass of a typical comet found much closer to the Sun."

"NASA will resume its efforts to complete a key fueling test of the Space Launch System rocket on Tuesday… The space agency has decided to modify this test, however, due to a problem with a check valve on the rocket's upper stage that leads to a pressurized helium bottle. The valve was found to be stuck last week and will need to be replaced."

"In 2019, two of the Harvard researchers who studied Oumuamua in depth drafted a new paper positing that an extremely speedy meteorite that blazed a trail through the atmosphere in 2014 was also interstellar… However, as Siraj recently told Vice, peer review and publication of the paper have been held up because the US military had classified some of the data needed to confirm the scientists' calculations… That bureaucratic logjam now appears to be broken." IS this a horror movie? Because this feels like how the horror movie begins. Actually, this will lend credence to the panspermia argument.

"The psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms helps to open up depressed people’s brains and make them less fixed in negative thinking patterns, research suggests… According to the findings, psilocybin makes the brain more flexible, working differently to regular antidepressants, even weeks after use. Researchers say the findings indicate that psilocybin could be a viable alternative to depression treatments." Feed your head.

"If you have a history of asthma or allergies, you may be at increased risk of developing high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, new research finds… Adults between the ages of 18 and 57 who have suffered from an allergic disorder had a higher risk of high blood pressure, according to the research, which will be presented at the American College of Cardiology and Korean Society of Cardiology's spring conference in Gyeongju, South Korea."

"Some residents of Shanghai were allowed out of their homes as the city of 25 million eased a two-week-old shutdown Tuesday after a video posted online showed what was said to be people who ran out of food breaking into a supermarket."

"'We found reports of increased constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain,' says Kendra Kamp, a researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She surveyed IBS patients with anxiety or depression about their experiences early in the pandemic. More than 90% reported increased stress and 81% reported increased anxiety. Another survey sponsored by a pharmaceutical company found half of IBS patients say their symptoms have been more challenging to manage, and many reported an initial onset of IBS amid the pandemic." Working with the ER, can confirm. Here's the thing, the SARS-CoV2 virus, while we've focused on respiratory issues, tends to show up a lot with symptoms along the lower digestive tract, and can be detected more easily in feces than through the nasal mucous. Again, this is a brand new disease, it will hit us in ways we haven't even explored yet. So this and long COVID are starting to be more of a concern for medicine.

"Heart inflammation after a Covid jab is not only rare but no more common than after other types of vaccinations, researchers have found… As Covid vaccination programmes began around the world it emerged that some people – particularly young men – subsequently developed myocarditis, a type of inflammation of the heart muscle, or pericarditis, inflammation of the outer lining of the heart." The truth is finally getting its boots on.

"The Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 8.5% in March compared to the same month last year, according to the latest report released Tuesday. That marked the fastest rise since December 1981. This followed a 7.9% annual increase in February. Heading into the report, consensus economists were looking for an 8.4% jump for March, according to Bloomberg data."

"The Biden administration will temporarily allow gasoline with 15% ethanol to be sold between June 1 and Sept. 15. Normally only a cleaner10% blend can be sold in the summer."

"Once it shutters, the number of Kmarts in the U.S. — once well over 2,000 — will be down to three in the continental U.S. and a handful of stores elsewhere, according to multiple reports, in a retail world now dominated by Walmart, Target and Amazon."

"Amazon is handling a rapidly growing number of returns that are causing a massive problem for the e-commerce giant and the planet… A National Retail Federation survey found a record $761 billion of merchandise was returned to retailers in 2021. That amount surpasses what the U.S. spent on national defense in 2021, which was $741 billion."

"Elon Musk has decided not to join Twitter's board, the company said on Sunday, less than a week after the billionaire Tesla CEO disclosed he is the social media company's largest shareholder and was offered a seat." Not really surprised, because as a board member Elon would have to behave. And he doesn't do that well.

"One year ago this month, Apple unveiled the AirTag, a shiny, half-dollar-sized coin with a speaker, Bluetooth antenna, and battery inside, which helps users keep track of their missing items. Attach an AirTag to your purse, keys, wallet, or even your car, and if you lose it, the device will ping every nearby Apple product with Bluetooth turned on to triangulate its location… Police records reviewed by Motherboard show that, as security experts immediately predicted when the product launched, this technology has been used as a tool to stalk and harass women." Just as they did with other technologies.

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his finance minister Rishi Sunak have been told they will be fined by police over lockdown-breaking parties held on UK government premises, a Downing Street spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday."

"President Biden has picked former federal attorney Steve Dettelbach to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as the administration takes new steps to address the scourge of gun violence in America."

"The Department of Justice said Monday that it had submitted to the Federal Register a final rule designed to curb the proliferation of so-called 'ghost guns' — untraceable firearms that don't have serial numbers."

"The thought of an extreme-right leader standing at the helm of the European Union would be abhorrent to most in the 27-nation bloc. But if Emmanuel Macron falters in the April 24 French presidential elections, it might be two weeks away."

"President Emmanuel Macron and the far right's Marine Le Pen won Sunday's vote and will face off in the April 24 presidential runoff that will offer voters two sharply contrasting visions of France… Sunday's vote is a repeat of the results five years ago, when the two faced off in a runoff vote. In 2017, however, Macron easily won the runoff by attracting two out of three ballots cast. This time, Le Pen attracted a much higher percentage with 23.3% of the vote, according to exit polls. Macron has 28.1%."

"Ukraine's military has fought so effectively that Russia has abandoned its Plan A, which envisioned a quick takeover of the capital Kyiv. Russia has now turned to Plan B, with troops focused on the eastern part of Ukraine… So as the war enters a new phase, what does this mean for both sides?"

The NPR daily roundup of Ukraine news, including 10 million have fled, it's possible to prove war crimes are genocide, Holocaust museums are calling out Russia over their actions, things not looking good in Mariupol, and mines left around Kyiv. Also, the world is dividing up.

"The US and Britain say they are looking into reports that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces attacking the Ukrainian port of Mariupol… Ukraine's Azov regiment said three soldiers were injured by 'a poisonous substance' in an attack on Monday… However, no evidence has been presented to confirm the use of chemical weapons." Not that the Above regiment are trustworthy (they are the ultra-right wing militia), but if this proves out, my Russian friends, that is a grave escalation which will demand an international response. Again, your leaders are making this a moral imperative to intervene.

"Austria's Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he raised alleged Russian atrocities in Ukraine during a "tough" and unfriendly meeting Monday with Vladimir Putin -- the first Western sit-down with the Russian President since he launched his invasion in February."

"President Vladimir Putin vowed Tuesday that Russia’s bloody offensive in Ukraine would continue until its goals are fulfilled, and insisted the campaign was going as planned, despite a major withdrawal in the face of stiff Ukrainian opposition and significant losses." I wonder how long it will take to get to "a land bridge to Crimea"?

"New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin has surrendered to authorities to face campaign finance fraud-related charges in connection with a past campaign, two people familiar with the matter said Tuesday… His arrest comes after reports that Manhattan federal prosecutors and the FBI were investigating whether Benjamin knowingly engaged in a campaign finance fraud scheme. Subpoenas were issued in connection with the investigation, two sources familiar with the subpoenas said at the time."

"That is not the thinking now. With Biden's struggling approval ratings in states across the country and high inflation a top concern for voters, Republicans have significantly improved their likelihood to take control of the Senate, based on conversations with operatives and strategists in both parties." Release the prognosticators.

"A federal judge has indicated that an attempt to stop the far-right Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene running for re-election will be allowed to proceed… The challenge from a group of Georgia voters says Greene should be disqualified under the 14th amendment to the US constitution, because she supported insurrectionists who attacked the US Capitol on 6 January 2021."

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday April 10

"Put bluntly, the problem isn’t Big Tech stealing publishers’ content; it’s that Big Tech is stealing publishers’ money… The online ad market has been cornered by two companies: Facebook (which calls itself Meta these days) and Google. These companies have taken over the market through a series of illegal actions…"

"In the team's theory, when gravity propagates through extra dimensions, it materializes in our Universe as massive gravitons… But these particles would interact only weakly with ordinary matter, and only via the force of gravity… This description is eerily similar to what we know about dark matter, which does not interact with light yet has a gravitational influence felt everywhere in the Universe. This gravitational influence, for instance, is what prevents galaxies from flying apart."

"State health officials, including some in Central Florida, issued alerts Friday regarding outbreaks of meningococcal disease, a rare but serious form of meningitis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord."

"Emanuel and other experts cite a lack of testing as the primary reason (COVID) cases are underreported. At the height of the omicron wave in January, the U.S. was administering more than 2 million tests per day. That had dropped to an average of about 530,000 as of Monday, the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

"Many in the North Collinwood neighborhood are dismayed, angry and worried about the closure of Dave’s Market on April 30. The news came as a shock to the community, who depend on the grocery store not just because it has fresh food, but also because it’s within walking distance in a neighborhood where half the households don’t have a vehicle. Half of the resident households are also eligible for food bank benefits, according to the Cleveland-based Centers for Community Solutions."

"A 26-year-old woman has been charged with murder in Texas after authorities said she caused 'the death of an individual by self-induced abortion', in a state that has the most restrictive abortion laws in the US… It was unclear whether Lizelle Herrera was accused of having an abortion or whether she helped someone else get an abortion."

"Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez said Sunday he has filed a motion to dismiss a murder charge against a woman for performing a 'self-induced abortion.'… Ramirez said the Starr County Sheriff's Department 'did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital' but this was not a criminal matter under Texas law."

"A community task force reviewing the death of a Black teenager who was restrained for more than 30 minutes at a Kansas juvenile detention center found that an officer changed his answers on a form that otherwise would have led police to take the teen to a hospital instead of booking him into the detention center."

"As politicians spar over who's to blame for recent increases in gas prices, a large majority of Americans say oil companies and Russian President Vladimir Putin are major culprits, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds… Along party lines, Americans are more likely to blame Democrats for the increase in gas prices than Republicans, according to the poll, which also found much greater enthusiasm about voting in this November's elections among Republicans than among Democrats."

"Sometimes the dead have more to say than the living. Those lying beneath the soft, yellow earth in the grounds of the church of Andrew the Apostle, in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, have many terrible stories to tell."

"After its striking post-invasion setbacks, Russia has appointed a new Ukraine war commander, a U.S. official said Sunday… Russia has turned to Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, 60, one of Russia’s most experienced military officers and — according to U.S. officials — a general with a record of brutality against civilians in Syria and other war theaters. The senior official who identified the new commander was not authorized to be identified and spoke on condition of anonymity."

"Experts say a full-scale offensive in the east could start within days, though questions remained about the ability of Russia's depleted and demoralized forces to conquer much ground after Ukraine's determined defenders repelled their push to capture the capital, Kyiv."

"Sullivan told ABC News 'This Week' Co-Anchor Jonathan Karl on Sunday that before the war began, declassified intelligence 'indicated that there was a plan from the highest levels of the Russian government to target civilians who oppose the invasion.'"

"First Florida. Then Alabama. Now, lawmakers in Ohio and Louisiana are considering legislation that mimics the Florida law. And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he'll make a similar bill a top priority at the next session… Across the United States, at least a dozen states are considering new legislation that in several ways will mirror Florida's new controversial law, referred to by some opponents as 'Don't Say Gay.'"

"Republican Bill McSwain pledges to be a pro-energy governor by 'turning on the spigot of natural gas.' Another hopeful, Dave White, says he wants Pennsylvania 'to be the energy capital of the world.' A third candidate, Lou Barletta, says having a glut of natural gas in the ground without a pipeline is 'like being in college and having a keg of beer without a tap.'" They're counting on conversation voters not understanding that they actually can't do that.

"Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey claimed the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump by 'the fake news, Big Tech and blue state liberals' in a campaign ad released Monday, making her the latest high-profile candidate to support unfounded conspiracy theories that the election was illegitimate." In a "normal" society, this kind of delusional thinking could get one involuntarily committed to a behavior health unit. Instead, certain politicians believe it's their ticket to winning elections.

"A Virginia state court has disbarred Jonathon Moseley, an attorney who has represented a slew of high-profile Jan. 6 defendants, including a member of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy, as well as several targets of the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol… Most prominent among Moseley’s criminal clients is Kelly Meggs, an Oath Keeper from Florida who took on a leadership role for the group that breached the Capitol."

"'The debate centers on whether making a referral – a largely symbolic act – would backfire by politically tainting the justice department’s expanding investigation into the January 6 assault and what led up to it,' the paper said… Citing 'members and aides', the Times said such sources were reluctant to support a referral because it would create the impression Democrats had asked the attorney general, Merrick Garland, to investigate Trump." As someone who works with symbols every day, symbolism and symbolic acts are mightly important.